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Fiesta is over for Boise

August 24, 2007|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

The ESPYs are over, the quarterback moved on, the cheerleader said "I do," the documentary is in the can and now, from the finest restaurant table in town, the Boise State Broncos have asked the head waiter for a reality check.

All that blue-carpet treatment the team received after the Broncos' startling Fiesta Bowl victory against Oklahoma last Jan. 1?

"I got tired of it a long time ago," senior defensive end Nick Schlekeway said. "January 21st, or something like that. I got tired of talking about it. It's just one of those things: nothing good can come of it."

Don't get him wrong. Sending Oklahoma back to Norman on a trick play in overtime was the best thing that ever happened at Spud State, but the program didn't shut down after the parade.

The 2007 schedule came out and Boise State was on it, without quarterback Jared Zabransky, who went 33-5 as a starter. The next quarterback might be Taylor Tharp or Bush Hamdan, or Mike Coughlin or Nick Lomax.

Check back before the Weber State opener.

Boise State lost 15 starters, seven from offense, off last year's 13-0 squad.

Despite winning five straight Western Athletic Conference crowns, and going 39-1 in league since 2002 -- the only loss at Fresno State in 2005 -- Boise State starts 2007 at square one.

The media is definitely over it, picking Hawaii to win the WAC this year and Boise State to finish second. The Boise coach, Chris Petersen, is on board with that, saying, "I think the team that's favored should be favored."

The problem with having the best-thing-that's-ever-happened-to-you happen is that you can almost never top it.

Boise State's toughest opponent this year may be Adulation Overload.

"If we sit there and say, 'We beat Oklahoma, we deserve all this,' it affects every training session from here on out," junior tailback Ian Johnson warned.

Petersen, at a recent media function, said he would be happy to address "non-Fiesta Bowl" questions, as if the big news that came out of that game was some kind of illicit scandal.

"Don't get me wrong," Petersen said. "We totally enjoyed last season, loved our experience, we were so happy to compete in the Fiesta Bowl. We'll remember those for a lifetime. But that was last season. It's time to move on."

Move on to what? Is it possible a team can go from an all-win situation to a no-win one?

Boise State smells a possible face plant. David and Goliath have switched places.

If the Broncos don't win 13 games again, is that failure?

The boys of blue have enough potential to repeat as champions, though Petersen is quick to warn that "potential is what you lose with."

Petersen has posted warning signs, but will it be enough?

Boise State is not the same team that made history against Oklahoma.

The page heading into this season is blank.

"We are zero and zero," Schlekeway said.

As for laurel resting, he added, "If you make too big a deal about it then you're looking for trouble."

Washington can't wait to get its salmon hooks into Boise State when the Broncos head to Seattle on Sept. 8. Boise State closes the season at Hawaii on Nov. 23.

Since joining the WAC in 2001, Boise State has beaten Hawaii six straight games, but that doesn't mean leg squat.

"Just because we're Boise State we're not going to win," tailback Johnson said.

Last year was the last year of all last years.

This year is going to be different.


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